June is probably the best time to visit Ladakh, the largest region in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. The warm weather is perfect to explore the region’s unbelievable natural beauty. It is also the time when Ladakh celebrates the much-awaited Hemis Festival at the famous Hemis Gompa. Depicting the region’s rich cultural and spiritual heritage, the fascinating Hemis Festival draws culture-enthusiasts from far and wide. In 2015, the carnival will be held on 26th and 27th June.
Celebrating the birth anniversary of the great Buddhist leader, Guru Padmasambhava, this two-day carnival has a lot in store for the visitors. The Hemis Gompa where this festival takes place comes alive with loads of music and dancing. The ceremony begins at dawn, and showcases the glory of Buddhism with lots of drum beating and clashing of cymbals. The ceremony is followed by the unique dance performance by masked Lamas. The performers gather around the central flagpole and dance in enchanting ways. This performance is the main highlight of Hemis Festival, and is something that never fails to enthral visitors.
Shopping for a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts is another highlight of the festival. You can pick from a range of hand-made shawls, traditional ornaments, and various other items sold at numerous stalls and shops at the fair. Make sure that you don’t miss the opportunity to try out the local delicacies.
About Hemis Gompa
Situated 45kms from Leh, Hemis Gompa is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Jammu & Kashmir. Apart from its unique architectural beauty, the gompa is famous for its awe-inspiring collection of historical paintings, artefacts and Thangkas (Tibetan Buddhist paintings). Inside the gompa are many statues, including the large, ornamented statue of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava).
How to Reach There
Leh has an airport with regular flights from Delhi, the national capital of India. From Leh Airport, tourists can hire taxis or board buses to reach Hemis Monastery. Buses and taxis are easily available right outside the airport terminal.